Saturday, September 11, 2010

Everton v Manchester United

This match is interesting on many levels.  The English media is focusing on the Wayne Rooney circus, but I don't really care about that.  You see, Manchester United play Glasgow Rangers in the Champion's League next week, and I am sure Alex Ferguson would love to rest some players ahead of that match.  But Everton won this match last season, and they always play their best against big clubs.  It's not hard to imagine a scenario where Everton finally get their season started with a win and Manchester United get beat by overlooking an opponent.

United have some injury issues in the center of midfield, and that is exactly the area where they would like to rest people.  You would expect that the midfield against Rangers will be Park Ji-sung, Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher, and Nani.  Park travelled halfway around the world to play for South Korea, so he will not start against Everton.  Antonio Valencia could start on one wing, but he and Nani will probably both play a half so it doesn't really matter.  The wings are not a big issue.  The problem, as I stated earlier, is in the middle.  I think Ferguson would prefer to rest Scholes and Fletcher this weekend, but he has no other options in the middle of the park.

I think this is going to be a close, hard-fought game with a fair amount of chances created, but no finishing.  I suspect that around the 75th minute or so it will still be tied and Ferguson will be forced to use his big guns in an attempt to secure three points.   And really, United have had so many deflected goals, own goals, dodgy penalties, and fortunate bounces that you expect that to win it late because Tim Howard trips on a banana peel in the 93rd minute, or some other ridiculous anomaly.

My prediction, 2-1 to Manchester United, but nowhere near deserved.

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